Monday, May 3, 2021

In Grief: A Lovely Tradition on Mother's Day

Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there, it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.  ~ Erich Fromm

A reader writes: I just lost my mom a month ago. We had only known for 6 weeks that she had lung cancer. Let me tell you, those six weeks were short. She had just started the chemo treatments. I still can not believe she is gone ~ especially when I think about my first Mother's Day without her.

I read somewhere that wearing a white carnation on Mother's Day represents the memory of your dear mom. You wear a red carnation if you are blessed to still have your mom. I've decided that I am going to make a few for my mothers-in-law and aunts. My one aunt lost her mom (my husband's grandma) in October. I thought it would be a nice gesture. I am going to make ribbons with something written on them. Maybe our moms' names....or in memory. Any thoughts??

My response: Thank you so much for reminding me of this lovely tradition. I remember when I was a child my father gathering my mother, my sister and me together every Mother’s Day before we went to church, and presenting each of us with a beautiful corsage of fragrant, fresh carnations: white ones for my mother, whose own mother died when she was a child, and red ones for my sister and me. I remember seeing our next-door neighbors and all the ladies in church with their corsages, too. My father explained that the white carnations meant that a person’s mother was deceased, and you wore red or pink ones when she is living.

Nowadays I suppose some will say that the Mother’s Day tradition of carnations and corsages was only a gimmick to help florists sell flowers, and maybe there is some truth to that ~ but it is a lovely tradition nonetheless, and I’m sorry we don’t see it anymore. Seeing those corsages signified to me that the women wearing them loved and honored their mothers, and if the carnations were white, it signified that those women cherished how much their mothers loved them.

I know we’ll never stop people from commercializing Mother’s Day by selling flowers, greeting cards, boxes of candy or meals at local restaurants. But how we feel about our mothers is priceless. I wonder what would happen if all us motherless daughters decided to revive an old tradition ~ by wearing white carnations on Mother’s Day? 

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Image by Gerardo Antonio Romero from Pixabay
© by 
Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, BC-TMH

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